ISLAMABAD - Aggravating gas loadshedding will severely hit people in coming winter, highly placed sources have told The Nation on Thursday. Low gas production due to less exploration activities and depleting reserves might badly hit the businesses of the country as mounting gas shortage might result in gas loadshedding for industrial consumers in winter, sources said adding, that the incumbent government, in its new gas load management plan, is likely to allocate gas to power sector on priority in its plan expected to be tabled before the ECC of the Cabinet soon, sources said. It was learnt that Petroleum Ministry is gearing up its efforts to grant permission to power sector to run its operation on gas while implementing the decision of ECC in letter and spirit pertaining to gas load management plan/ gas supply schedule for upcoming winter season. Currently, daily demand of power sector is around 800mmcfd while fertilizer sector demand is near 300mmcfd. However, in peak winter, both utilities of Pakistan would face a shortfall up to 4bcfd of gas, as consumption would increase manifold. The overall gas production in Pakistan is declining with each passing day, which is currently around 3.8bcfd and shortfall being faced by SNGPL and SSGCL is near to 2bcfd, which has reduced from 4 million cubic feet per day, sources said. They further informed that during winter demand of gas increases, therefore, supply is being curtailed to large users mainly industries and power plants during winter to ensure supply to domestic consumers and fertilizer sector. If the incumbent government gives priority to power sector instead of fertilizer sector while allocating gas for the months of December, January and February then inflation and black marketing will play with the business and large number of fertilizers will be imported to meet the demands of the farmers of the country, a source opined. After calculating severe gas shortage during the imminent winter, Petroleum Ministry is set to get approval from the ECC on a new gas load management plan in a bid to manage severe shortage of gas in the country, sources said, adding, that power sector would get permission regarding usage of gas in peak season ie December, January and February while another summary for getting final nod the ECC is likely to be tabled separately very soon. Previous year calculation of 38 per cent shortage might be the taken as a basis and justification while formulating new gas load management plan for the month of December, January and February this year, sources said. Secretary Petroleum Ijaz Chaudry while talking to TheNation confirmed that forthcoming winter would be an awful account for gas consumers. However, under 38 per cent curtailment formula, it is likely that expected severe gas shortage could be bridged. He was of the view that under this formula, gas allocation would be divided according to the demands. He further informed that viewing the severe shortage of gas in winter, it is likely that power sector would get gas to generate electricity while running its operation on gas. Over a question, Secretary Petroleum declared that no final decision so far regarding curtailment of gas to power sector or the fertilizer sector. He was of the view that gas loadshedding for CNG would remain same, however, a plan is in process of formulation regarding the load management for peak winter season.